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WASHINGTON – When President Obama picked up the World Series trophy for a photo opportunity near the end of Monday’s ceremony at the White House, Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman threw a little Bronx attitude at the longtime White Sox fan.

“Let him hold it,” Afterman said. “He may not get a chance again.”

As the crowd in the East Room laughed at the crack, the President answered quickly with a one-liner of his own.

“And you wonder why the other teams don’t root for you,” Obama said with a smile.

It was a festive atmosphere as the Yankees were honored for their 2009 title, presenting Obama with a signed No. 27 pinstriped jersey to commemorate the visit.

“It’s been nine years since your last title – which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans,” Obama said toward the beginning of his eight-minute address. “I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that – the Cubs, for example.”

Obama praised the Yankees for their work on and off the field, citing the charitable efforts of Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, the work ethic of Derek Jeter and the HOPE Week initiative the organization began last summer. The President also had kind words for Mariano Rivera, whom he clearly would prefer to see pitching for his hometown White Sox.

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